The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Florida running back Chris Rainey in the 5th round of the 2012 draft with 159th overall selection.
Chris Rainey Conference Call
One of the fastest ball carriers in the collegiate ranks, Rainey is regarded as a “poor man’s” version of Percy Harvin (Minnesota) and with his receiving skills, he could possibly shift to the receiving corps in the professional ranks, more so to protect his body from the rigors and punishment tailbacks absorb. Also a member of the Gators’ track team, Rainey has also shown he could be a valuable performer on special teams, where he has not only returned punts and kicks, but also excelled as a kick blocker.
The redshirt senior appeared in 52 games as a Gator and has made 19 starts, ranking ninth in school annals with 2,464 yards on the ground. He averaged 6.22 yards as a ball carrier, finding the end zone via the ground thirteen times. He pulled in 69 passes for an 11.52-yard average, adding six scoring grabs. He holds both the school and Southeastern Conference all-time record with six blocked punts, also averaging 9.04 yards on 26 punt returns and 25.22 yards on 18 kickoff returns.
Rainey just missed joining the Gators’ “4,000-yard Club” with 3,948 all-purpose yards at Florida, an average of 75.92 yards per game. What makes this player enticing to an NFL team is his versatility, though – beginning his career as a tailback before shifting to slot receiver as a junior and heading back to the running corps for his final campaign. He just needs to show more patience and ball security to excel at the next level, as there are some concerns in that area, having coughed up the ball six times in twelve games during 2011 after posting just four fumbles through his first 40 collegiate contests.
Rainey was a highly sought after prospect out of Lakeland High School. The standout running back helped to lead the team to its 45th-consecutive victory, third-straight Class 5A state championship and back-to-back USA Today national championships. He was rated fourth among all-purpose backs and 17th among Florida’s Top-100 by Scout.com and also rated 34th on the ESPN150 list of top prospects.
The ball carrier was chosen as a U.S. Army All-American during his senior year, when he broke the school record with 32 touchdowns and 2,478 yards rushing. Of those 32 scores, fifteen were of runs of 50 yards or more. He established another school mark with 326 yards in a single game and was the first player at Lakeland to rush for over 2,000 yards in a campaign.
Rainey was chosen as an all-state Offensive Player by the Florida Sports Writers Association, all-county by the Lakeland Ledger, in addition to garnering the Ledger’s 2006 Offensive Player of the Year Award. He ended his senior year with career totals of more than 7,000 yards and 90 touchdowns for head coach Bill Castle.
After enrolling at Florida in 2007, Rainey saw just limited action in four games, gaining 10 yards on a rushing attempt, 22 yards on a punt return and 39 yards on a kickoff return before he was shut down and granted a medical red-shirt due to a shoulder injury. He was also plagued by several “mental mistakes,” as he was flagged for roughing the kicker in the opener vs. Western Kentucky, turning a fourth down into a first down.
Rainey had two more errors vs. Troy, as he mistakenly ran on the field with the punt return team, prompting the Gators to call timeout to avoid a penalty, and then fumbled a kickoff early in the second half that helped spark Troy\’s 17-point third quarter. His problems had former head coach Urban Meyer questioning whether to play him anymore in 2007.
The shoulder injury afforded the staff a “reason” to red-shirt Rainey, allowing him to fully recover from his high school senior season injury, along with getting settled in with the UF program. “Chris is dynamic. He just has to take care of the ball,” Meyer said. “Chris comes from a great high school program. He\’s very well coached. He loves football. The reality is that he\’s not very strong and he\’s not very big. You\’re getting ready to face some very strong, very fast people. “Have I lost trust in him? No. He\’s a young player that\’s going to go through some growing pains.”
Rainey returned to action as a reserve halfback in 2008, ranking third on the team with 652 yards and four touchdowns on 84 carries (7.76 ypc). As a red-shirt sophomore, he started three times during the 14-game schedule. He was again the Gators’ third-leading rusher, totaling 89 totes for 575 yards (6.46 ypc) and five scores. More involved in the passing game, he added another touchdown and 161 yards on ten grabs and blocked punts in each of the Kentucky and Mississippi State clashes while sharing backfield duties with the equally speedy Jeff Demps.
The 2010 season was one that Rainey would rather forget. There were concerns in the spring over an irregular heartbeat, followed by a suspension after he was charged with aggravated stalking in September for sending a former girlfriend a threatening text message. He pleaded to misdemeanor charges, agreed to community service and anger management counseling, leaving him just eight games on the schedule to get back on the field.
Thanks to an injury-depleted receiving unit, the coaches shifted Rainey to the slot position upon his return. He had 51 carries for 366 yards (7.18 ypc) and two touchdowns handling reverses, and ranked fourth on the squad with 25 receptions for 216 yards (8.64 ypc) and three scores. Later in the year, he returned seven kicks for 162 yards (23.14 avg) and averaged 7.44 yards on nine punt returns, but made more of an impact when he blocked two punts in the Vanderbilt clash.
Rainey shifted back to the running corps as a senior, starting 10-of-12 games, but missed the Kentucky clash after spraining his right ankle vs. Georgia. He led the team with 861 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 171 attempts (5.04 ypc). He also paced the Gators with 31 receptions for 381 yards (12.29 ypc) and two more scores. He found the end zone again with one of his twelve punt returns, averaging 8.83 yards in that capacity. For the third consecutive season, he also produced a pair of blocked punts.
Rainey started 19-of-52 games at Florida – six as a slot receiver and thirteen at tailback…
Ranks ninth in school history with 2,464 yards rushing, carrying the ball 396 times for a 6.22-yard average with thirteen touchdowns…Caught 69 passes for 795 yards (11.52 ypc) and six scores…Totaled 128 points and 21 touchdowns, as he also returned 26 punts for 235 yards (9.04 ypc) with two scores and tallied 454 yards on 18 kickoff returns (25.22 avg)…Set the school and Southeastern Conference career-record with six blocked punts, surpassing the previous Gators mark of four by Tim Paulk (1987-91), Sam McCorkle (1992-95) and Carlos Dunlap (2007-09)…Collected 3,948 all-purpose yards, an average of 75.92 yards per game…Became the first Florida player to record a rushing, receiving & return touchdown in a single game, accomplishing that feat vs. Florida Atlantic in the 2011 season opener…His 76-yard run from scrimmage vs. Charleston Southern in 2009 and 75-yarder vs. Arkansas in 2008 rank seventh and eighth, respectively, on the school’s longest carries record chart…His 83-yard reception vs. Tennessee in 2011 was the fifth-longest catch in Florida annals.
Rainey switched from jersey number three to one for his final season…Started ten of the twelve games he appeared in, sitting out vs. Vanderbilt after suffering an ankle sprain the previous week vs. Georgia…In addition two changing jersey numbers, Rainey returned to the tailback spot, as he led the team with a career-high 861 yards on 171 carries (5.04 ypc), scoring twice on the ground…Also led the Gators with a career-best 31 receptions for 381 yards (12.29 ypc) and two more scores…Returned twelve punts for 106 yards (8.83 avg) and one touchdown, adding 103 yards on four kickoff returns (25.75 avg)…For the third consecutive season, he blocked two punts – one each vs. Tennessee and Ohio State…
Had a team-high 1,451 all-purpose yards, ranking third in the Southeastern Conference with an average of 120.92 yards per game…The team struggled on offense, ranking 105th in the nation with an average of 328.29 yards per game, but Rainey placed fifth in the SEC in rushing, with a 71.75-yard per game average…Teamed with Jeff Demps to give the Gators a combined seven 100-yard rushing performances, third-best in the conference during the 2011 campaign…Became the first Florida player to produce a touchdown on a running play (14 yards), reception (14 yards) and punt return (22-yarder on a blocked kick), as he totaled 79 yards on 11 carries, 67 yards on six receptions in a 41-3 season opener rout of Florida Atlantic…Became the first Gator since 2003 to reel off three consecutive 100-yard rushing performances, beginning with 16 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown vs. Alabama-Birmingham, followed by 108 yards on 21 tries to go with an 83-yard scoring grab and three punt returns for 21 yards vs. Tennessee…Added 15 rushes for 105 yards vs. Kentucky…Tallied 132 yards on 17 attempts and 32 yards on three receptions vs. South Carolina, his first appearance since spraining his right ankle vs. Georgia…CVlosed out his career with 16 carries for 71 yards, three catches for 31 yards and a 31-yard punt return in a 24-17 decision over Ohio State in the Gator Bowl.
Rainey missed part of spring camp due to an irregular heartbeat…He was later suspended after being charged with aggravated stalking in September for sending a former girlfriend a threatening text message, as he pled to a misdemeanor and agreed to community service, along with anger management counseling…Appeared in eight games, starting six contests (vs. Miami, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Appalachian State and Florida State)…Also appeared vs. South Florida and Penn State…Played wide receiver primarily, but shifted back to running back at times to aid UF’s injury-depleted running back group,
Ranking second on the squad with 51 carries for 366 yards (7.18 ypc) and two scores…
Fourth on the team with 25 receptions for 216 yards (8.64 ypc) and three more touch-downs…Scored in five of the eight games in which he played in, as he also gained 67 yards on nine punt returns (7.44 avg) and 162 yards on seven kickoff returns (23.14 avg)…
Blocked two punts- both coming in the Vanderbilt clash…His best performance came vs. Georgia, picking up 84 yards with a touchdown on 16 carries, 9 yards on two catches and 148 yards on six kickoff returns…Rushed six times for 87 yards and a 16-yard touchdown vs. Appalachian State…Had six rushes (66 yards), three receptions (18) and two punt returns (9) vs. Penn State in the Outback Bowl, contributing 93 all-purpose yards, including a season-long 51-yard rush…Had 98 all-purpose yards vs. Florida State, recording 11 carries for 73 yards and four receptions for 25 yards.
Rainey appeared in all fourteen games, starting at tailback vs. Kentucky, Louisiana state and Arkansas…Ranked third on the team with 89 carries for 575 yards (6.46 ypc) and five touchdowns…Collected ten passes for 161 yards and a score, adding 40 yards on four punt returns, 144 yards on five kickoff returns (28.8 avg) and 920 all-purpose yards, an average of 65.71 yards per game…Blocked two punts – one each vs. Kentucky and Mississippi State…At MSU, he rushed for 90 yards on 12 carries and scored on an 8-yard scamper, surpassing the 1,000 career rushing yard mark in the win over the Bulldogs, in addition to blocking a key punt in UF’s win…Blocked another punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown at Kentucky…Had a stellar outing vs. Florida State, rushing eight times for 73 yards, including a 45-yard run that helped lead UF to its second score, a field goal, vs. the Seminoles…Had an exceptional, showing in the Sugar Bowl victory over Cincinnati, with 224 all-purpose yards, including 27 rushing yards on four tries, a career-high 71 receiving yards on four grabs and 116 kick return yards on four attempts, adding 10 yards on two punt returns.
Played in all 14 games during his redshirt freshman season, tallying 84 rushes for 652 yards (7.76 ypc), including four touchdowns…A Southeastern Conference All-Freshman selection, he also garnered Freshman All-American honors from College Football News…
Also made three catches for 37 yards and fielded a short kickoff for 6 yar4ds…Was one of five Gators to record at least one 100-yards rushing game in 2008…Scored his first career touchdown vs. Hawaii on a 33-yard run, the sixth-longest by any freshman in the first week of 2008 college football games…Recovered his first fumble recovery as a member of the punt-block special teams’ unit vs. Kentucky…Rushed for 103 yards vs. Arkansas, along with a season-long 75-yarder…Teammate Jeff Demps rushed for over a 100 yards vs. the Razorbacks and the duo marked the first time since 1997 that two Gator running backs rushed for 100 or more yards in the same game…Named the SEC Freshman of the Week after his performance vs. The Citadel, where he rushed for 142 yards on seven carries and scored one touchdown…Rainey, a sprinter, earned All-American status when he led off the Gators’ third-place 4×100 relay at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Rainey appeared in just four games before being granted a medical red-shirt to help him fully recover from a shoulder injury suffered at the end of his high school career… with one rush for 10 yards, one punt return for 22 yards and one kickoff return of 39 yards… Rushed 10 yards vs. Tennessee to set up the Gators’ final touchdown of the game…Also returned one punt for a total of 22 yards in his first collegiate appearance vs. Western Kentucky to set up a Florida touchdown.
2010 Season-Suspended after being charged with aggravated stalking in September for sending a former girlfriend a threatening text message, pled to misdemeanor agreed to community service, anger management counseling.
High School…Rainey underwent shoulder surgery in February, 2006…He then separated his shoulder in the first round of the state playoffs that season and played the fourth quarter and overtime of the state final with a separated shoulder.
2007 Season…Appeared in four games in 2007 before undergoing surgery to repair a loose joint in his right shoulder forced him to redshirt.
2008 Season…Rainey played in the SEC Championship game vs. top-ranked Alabama on Saturday despite being hampered by a groin injury for more than a month. Florida coach Urban Meyer first disclosed the injury when he was asked about Rainey limping off the practice field. “It won’t affect him during the game,” said Meyer, who claimed he did not know the specifics of the injury or when it occurred. “He’s had it for, like, five weeks now.” The speedy running back may need offseason surgery to correct the problem, Meyer said.
2009 Season…Even though Rainey suffered an ankle injury in the 2008 BCS Champion-ship Game that knocked him out of the game, a different injury had him hitting the operating table in February, as he traveled to Philadelphia to undergo surgery on a torn right groin muscle. The operation was done by groin specialist Dr. William Meyers, who has previously worked on professional athletes such as Donovan McNabb and Grant Hill. Rainey said his rehabilitation took four to five weeks before he could again begin his training program in March. Rainey said he injured his groin during last year’s track season, and played the entire 2008 football season with the injury. Because of the surgery, Rainey did not participate on the track team this spring…Suffered a left shoulder sprain vs. Georgia.
2010 Season…Rainey was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat during August camp. He had what former head coach Urban Meyer called “a little procedure\’\’ performed to correct the issue, but the coach wasn\’t specific about the seriousness of the injury. “I asked the same question,\’\’ Meyer said of the condition. “It\’s an accelerated heartbeat. Our guys do a very thorough job here, so they took care of him and everything is fine.\’\’
2011 Season…Rainey sprained his right ankle in the Georgia game but was able to play through it. The senior was not able to practice the week, and was later scratched from the Vanderbilt contest.
4.45 in the 40-yard dash…1.52 10-yard dash…2.52 20-yard dash…3.93 20-yard shuttle…
6.53 three-cone drill…36 1/2-inch vertical jump…10’0” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 16 times…30 ¾-inch arm length…9 ½-inch hands…72 ¼-inch wingspan…Six Wonderlic score.
Rainey attended Lakeland (Fla.) High School, playing football for head coach Bill Castle…
The standout running back helped lead the team to its 45th-consecutive victory, third-straight Class 5A state championship and back-to-back USA Today national champion-ships…Rated fourth among all-purpose backs and 17th among Florida’s Top-100 by Scout.com and also rated 34th on the ESPN150 list of top prospects…Chosen as a U.S. Army All-American during his senior year, when he broke the school record with 32 touch-downs and 2,478 yards rushing…Of those 32 scores, fifteen were of runs of 50 yards or more…Established another school mark with 326 yards in a single game and was the first player at Lakeland to rush for over 2,000 yards in a campaign…Named an all-state Offensive Player by the Florida Sports Writers Association, all-county by the Lakeland Ledger, in addition to garnering the Ledger’s 2006 Offensive Player of the Year Award…
Ended his senior year with career totals of more than 7,000 yards and 90 touchdowns.
Humanities and Letters major…Born 3/02/88 in Lakeland, Florida.
Chris Rainey Conference Call Transcript
Are you watching this with Maurkice Pouncey?
Yeah, I always watch it with him. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. This is my dream team.
Why are they your dream team?
Because they are Super Bowl contenders, they win games, and they are good in every phase of the game, special teams, defense, offense, everything.
How do you think you fit in with this team?
I fit perfect; special teams, offense, whatever it is I have to do.
What kind of role did they tell you that they would like you to fill?
I can play running back. I can play slot. I can play special teams. Wherever they want me, because I’m a playmaker all around. I fell that I fit perfect with the offense.
Re: On six blocked punts in your career:
Hopefully I can beat that record in the NFL.
How fast are you?
The way that I feel is that I’m a 4.1, but I didn’t show that at the combine, but I can show that on the field.
Do you think that you will be the fastest player on this team?
Well, Mike Wallace is pretty fast, but I’m still confident in my skills so I’d say that I’m the fastest.
Were you the guy that your brother was referring to with the ‘He Hate Me’ on his jersey?
He is the only person that I can’t beat in a race in my family.
You don’t actually hate him do you?
No, I don’t.
Are any injuries an issue going forward into the NFL?
I only had one injury and that was in high school. I had shoulder surgery and have been fine since then.
How close are you with the Pouncey’s, and did you live with them?
I lived with them all throughout high school. I am real close with them, but Maurkice is the one that I always had fights with because he is the aggressive one.
Did you think the Steelers were going to draft you?
I was hoping, but you never know what happens in the draft. I watched an E-60 about the draft and all of these players waiting. They all just waited patiently and there was something waiting for them in the end.
Were the Steelers one of the teams that you had talked to?
I talked to them, but I didn’t have a clue who was going to pick me though.
Are you a running back or a wide receiver first?
I love running back.
Re: Fighting with Maurkice:
He is a big guy, but that’s how you get tough.
What kind of lesson did you learn from the texting incident?
I became a better man, I matured. I learned a lesson not to do that ever again. It’s something I know that I won’t ever do again. I didn’t even know that you could get in trouble over a text. Plus, I wouldn’t harm a fly.
Did that hurt you in the draft?
I think so. I just have to prove my point, and prove myself to show people that I’m a good dude. That is all I can do right now.